Friday, January 18, 2008

Realtors Seek Loan-Limit Hike With Stimulus

There is mounting pressure for increased limits from a number of groups for California. We will see if this will finally carry the day, or California becomes a permanent high cost state, like Hawaii and Alaska.

Raising the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan limit to $625,000 as part of a stimulus package could help 140,000 to 210,000 families escape foreclosure, increase home sales, and boost economic activity by $42 billion, according to the National Association of Realtors. "We believe that any stimulus package must address housing issues and increasing the conforming loan limits for these two government-sponsored enterprises," NAR president Dick Gaylord said. Congress and the Bush administration are trying to put together a $100-150 billion stimulus package that features mainly tax rebates for consumers and accelerated writeoffs for businesses. President Bush called for quick passage of a Federal Housing Administration reform bill on Friday in discussing his approach to a stimulus package. But he did not mention the GSEs. The Realtors want the GSE loan limit raised from $417,000 to $625,000 to address the lack of liquidity and the high interest rates in the jumbo mortgage market. "This is the quickest way to help the hurting housing market," Mr. Gaylord said.

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